August 11, 2008

Jamon Iberico, Champagne of deli meats

Filed under: pork — Jose @ 4:28 pm

As mentioned in a previous post, Iberico ham is one of the finest pieces of cured meat you can put in your buñuelo hole.   Up until very recently, it was quite the treat as it was not available in the U.S. and I had only tasted it once, whilst visiting Madrid a couple of summers ago.  Thanks to the better judgment of somebody(s) at the FDA, they finally got around to allowing import of this King of hams and trust me, our nation is a richer place for it.

As Spain’s answer to Italy’s Prosciutto or Virginia’s Smithfield, Iberico ham outclasses these other hams by packing a huge amount of flavor and a killer umami punch.  It’s drier and thus stiffer than prosciutto but it will also practically melt in your mouth unlike prosciutto which tends to be more chewy.

A lesson I learned early on in my cooking experience was that “more fat” almost always means “more good” and in this regard, Iberico exceeds my expectations, check out the marbling:

Iberico

Don’t bother setting out your crackers or cheese with this, it really deserves an unbiased and rested palate to truly appreciate the nuances therein.  Also, at $99.99/lb (my nine paper thin slices cost $6) you’re not going to be grinding this up and making croquetas.

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